Prep Golf: Salisbury can’t repeat in 2A championships
By Ryan Bisesi
SOUTHERN PINES — It had been three years since Salisbury golf coach Dale Snyder had gone down to the Sandhills without any hardware to bring back.
Salisbury didn’t win its third-straight state 2A championship, finishing fourth behind Shelby, North Lincoln and state champion Newton-Conover. For the past two years, Longleaf Golf and Country Club was the scene for their dominance, but Tuesday was the time to gracefully pass the baton.
“You tip your cap and move on,” Snyder said. “We came in and played with three guys that had never been in a regional and state tournament in their life.”
The Hornets shot 316 both rounds for a 632 final score. It was fourth-straight year they finished in the top five in the state.
“Fourth wasn’t bad,” said senior Joseph Rusher after playing his last match. “I feel like if we had played really well we could have been up there and maybe won it. I’m still proud of our team.”
Salisbury’s Eric Edwards tied for third in the state individually with a 147 along with Maiden’s Thomas Lilly. Edwards finished his junior year as the team’s No. 1 and parred 12 holes while earning a birdie on No. 7 en route to a 74 Tuesday. Edwards started at No. 10 along with the rest of the Hornets and shot a 37 on both sides. It was his second-straight third-place finish on the par-71, 6,600-yard layout.
Edwards’ quest to win a state individual title like recent Salisbury studs Will Collins or Roy Dixon came up short, but he settled for two good days.
“The course played tougher than I thought it was going to play,” Edwards said. “The greens were pretty firm and they put the pins in places I hadn’t really seen before.”
The Hornets entered the day 17 shots behind N-C, who shot 299 Monday for a 611 total. The Red Devils’ Alex Hefner had a 142 for the top individual score. Salisbury nemesis North Lincoln had the best score Tuesday with a 308 to finish runner up for the third-straight year at 615.
Rusher shot 79 both days for a 158.
“I didn’t hit in the right places and hit a couple balls out of bounds that I shouldn’t have,” Rusher.
Senior Alex Austin shot 78 Tuesday for a 157. Austin, a Sandhills Community College signee, earned a birdie at No. 17. Austin and Rusher were the only seniors a year after the Hornets’ top four scorers graduated. Three of the last year’s senior quartet of Alex Nianouris, Troy Beaver, Alex Lee and Clark Alcorn have gone on to play college golf.
“With the team we had this year, it was an accomplishment to make it here because of the seniors we lost,” Austin said. “Golf goes the way it goes sometimes. That’s the way it is.”
Salisbury’s Christopher Queen shot 85 Tuesday for a 174 total. Sophomore Gabe Steinman shot 89 and 87 for a 176 while Abraham Post shot 85 and 86 for a 171.
The Hornets highlighted the season by tying for the Central Carolina Conference crown with West Davidson and winning their fourth-straight Midwest Regional.
“We knew that everybody thought this was the year they would take us down,” Snyder said. We were ready to put up a good fight and did a good job.”
West’s Nathan Curry tied for sixth with a 150. The Green Dragons came in sixth as a team while scoring a 657. Andrew Kahn, the CCC season medalist, shot 152.
“We basically went from eighth place and leapfrogged two teams to take sixth,” West coach David Klinkoski said.